Psychosocial Experiences of Breast Cancer Survivors Involved in a Dragon Boat Program: Exploring Links to Positive Psychological Growth

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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This study explored psychosocial experiences of breast cancer survivors involved in dragon boat programs. Twenty women (Mage = 58.69, SD = 6.85) were interviewed for 45-60 min about their experiences as members of survivor dragon boat teams. Interviews were analyzed using constructivist grounded theory methods. The dragon boat program facilitated social support from women with common challenges and a shared understanding of survivorship. It also provided opportunities to (re)gain a sense of personal control, develop new identities as athletes, and overcome physical challenges. Together these elements contributed to positive psychological growth and linked to the literature on posttraumatic growth. Future physical activity interventions targeting breast cancer survivors may benefit from developing strategies that share key characteristics of dragon boating.

Sabiston is now with the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University, Montreal, QC

McDonough is now with the Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Crocker is with the School of Human Kinetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.